Running for Peace in the Balkans


Running for Peace in the Balkans

The old Slovenian farmer grinned through a few remaining teeth and waved to us.

“Mir” I called out. ‘Peace!’

“Svetonia Mir!” World Peace.

He waved enthusiastically again in response.

I am told that the World Harmony Run was greeted by ecstatic villagers only days after the Balkan war ended in the early 90’s. Perhaps the old man remembers us from those days or quite possibly the symbol of peace – an Olympic style torch clasped by a runner – resonated deeply with him.

There were many hugely memorable moments in the two weeks that I, a New Zealand citizen, experienced when I recently joined the relay for peace that travels through 49 European countries every two years.

Local running groups, mayors and school children all had a chance to run with the team to hold the iconic torch.

We could proudly tell people that such luminaries as Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela had participated in our programme and that now “each one of you can also hold our torch and make a wish for a better world”.

The World Harmony Run visits over 80 nations each year and inspires countless lives with its simple message – that we each can help to bring about a brighter future for all of mankind by building an individually more peaceful world. Like the ripples from a stone tossed into a pool, our thoughts and everyday actions impact on the world around us and shape it in every moment.

And like those champions of humanity, each individual is encouraged to help build a happier world with their thoughts and actions. If any proof was needed then it was us – school teachers, engineers, waiters and painters – who could spread goodwill through an event like this in our spare time.

Just ask an old farmer in Slovenia – he might nod in agreement.


~ Daniel Rubin

Daniel, who has been meditating since 1997, has been inspired by Sri Chinmoy’s vision to share peace at a grassroots level and has participated in the Peace Run and the World Harmony Run in many countries around the world.